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Things to know when house hunting in the spring

Zillow • Mar 21, 2013 at 4:07 PM

For many people, the optimal time to buy a home is in the spring. There is generally more inventory from which to choose, and the timing just makes sense for most people. A spring purchase usually translates into a summer move which allows families with school-aged children a slower and easier transition into a new home and school. Plus, many areas offer summer memberships to pools, activity centers, recreational programs, etc., which all lend themselves to getting quickly established into your new neighborhood. But more important than recognizing why people like to buy in the spring, is to understand what spring buyers need to know when they begin searching the market. The spring housing market experiences an influx of active buyers so it’s important that you be prepared for action when you find the right home. Below are a few important items to remember if you are in the market to buy real estate this spring.

Laying the Foundation

This is a classic case of “the early bird gets the worm.” If you’re thinking of buying a home this spring, start the process now. There are many things that be accomplished prior to actual home tours. Research the real estate agents in your area and find a buyer’s agent whose expertise matches your needs. Start building that relationship early. A qualified agent should offer sound advice that is tailored to your specific situation; listen to their advice. If you need to sell your current home first, start preparing your own home for the market.

Get Pre-Approved Financing

You’ve probably heard by now that the world of financing has changed dramatically since the housing bust in 2006. Even if you’ve purchased a home in the past, chances are good that the process of securing financing will be quite different than it was before. Talk to your agent and to a mortgage specialist to find out what types of loans are available, which type of loan best suits you, and how much you can afford. Work with a lender to get pre-approved for a loan; this will increase your bargaining power when you find a home you like.

Research the Market

Once you have pre-approval for a loan, put your feelers out there. Find out what is available on the market in your area. Search online listings and have your agent pull comps. Find out what types of homes are being offered in your price range. By now you and your agent have probably put together a list of criteria; some will be categorized as “must haves” while others will fall into the “wants” category. Upon doing some research, ask yourself if your list is compatible with what the market is offering in your price range. We all have champagne taste, but we might need to live on a beer budget. If needed, re-evaluate and prioritize your “must haves” list so it matches the demands of the market.

Get Out and Look!

With your pre-approval letter in hand and a good, solid knowledge of your local market, it’s time to go out and tour homes. You will likely tour several homes before you find the right match, but if you’ve done your homework and invested time into the process upfront, then you are well on your way to getting a great deal on the home of your dreams!

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was written by Monte Mohr, who has sold over 2,500 homes, making him one of America’s top Realtors for the last 25 years. This experience has given him a unique perspective on Nashville real estate found at http://www.tennesseedreamhomes.com. He is also a regular contributor of real estate advice to Nashville’s NBC affiliate station, WSMV Channel 4. To learn more about Monte Mohr’s experience as a real estate agent, to get free advice about your biggest real estate challenges or to request an interview contact him at Info@TennesseeDreamHomes.com

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